Monday, August 24, 2009

Mental Attitude Makes the Winner

You have to hand it to England; they’ve outplayed us in more critical test moments than we’ve outplayed them. Every cricket-loving Australian hates most to lose to England, and that is surely correct in the reverse. It’s a bitter moment.

It isn’t surprising to see the following quote plastered over the window outside the winner’s change rooms:

“Nothing can stop the man with the right mental attitude from achieving his goal; nothing on earth can help the man with the wrong mental attitude” –Thomas Jefferson.
Clearly the English had the better mental approach to the final game and the second and third tests as well. Australia fought well, indeed better in their up times, yet never really had an answer to the English consistency—for the few high scores we got, we had our share of low ones. The England team had only one really poor score, the lamentable 102 in the fourth test. But, how they recovered!

So, with Ricky Ponting and his charges choking back tears, I write this, ‘the day Australian cricket died’ in colloquial Ashes terms—until we fight the old enemy again in fifteen months time on our home soil.

Once the game’s lost the relief takes over; for both teams. A hard-to-believe, pinch-yourself joy reigns for the winner. For the loser it’s a grief that lasts for days, weeks, longer in some ways—perhaps until the next series.

Is there a lesson in this for us?

Hard work and consistency won the day (and series) for England. Tenacity also wins things for us. Our cricketers will feel the sting in this loss for some time, but they will learn and grow through it. We too will lose from time to time; we can’t always expect to win.

How we approach the losses in our lives speak infinitely more powerfully about our characters than how we simply enjoy the winning. The bold, magnanimous loser learns how to really appreciate the win in his or her future.

No comments: